Weekend Utopian: A Conversation Between Alastair Gordon and Barbara Neski (MArch ’52)

Gorman House, Amagansett, NY, 1968

Gorman House, Amagansett, NY, 1968

Trailblazing modernist Barbara Neski became one of the first women to graduate from the GSD when she received a degree in architecture in 1952. She went on to work with Jose Luis Sert on urban plans for Bogotá and Havana and then became an associate in Marcel Breuer's office. In 1959, she collaborated on the American National Exhibition in Moscow with an American design team that included Peter Blake, Buckminster Fuller, Charles and Ray Eames. While working for Breuer, Barbara met Julian Neski, her future husband and design partner in Neski Associates. Together, they went on to design many projects on the east coast, and were particularly known for a series of small, innovative vacation houses on the beaches of eastern Long Island that became landmarks in weekend living, such as the Chalif house with its fin-shaped roofs (East Hampton , NY, 1964), or the Cates house, a white, Corbusian cube that hovered atop a dune, while concealing an infamous ménage-a-trois layout within (Amagansett, NY, 1968).

Barbara Neski is 89 and still lives and works in New York City. Alastair Gordon is a publisher, critic, and author who, among other titles, wrote Weekend Utopia about post-war experimental architecture on Long Island, NY that featured Neski's work. Last year, Gordon taught critical writing at the GSD.

Site Plan, Cates House, Amagansett, NY, 1967
Site Plan, Cates House, Amagansett, NY, 1967
Savage House, Amagansett, NY
Savage House, Amagansett, NY

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